Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Master of Your Domain

Kate and I headed up MoPac for The Domain's grand opening weekend on Sunday. Anchored by Neiman-Marcus and Macy’s at either end, The Domain is a simulacrum of a tree-lined city block filled with high-end retail outlets like Tiffany, Louis Vuitton and Apple. There are apartments and offices above the stores that seem grossly overpriced given the current market in that area.

The ass end of The Domain faces outward toward MoPac. That is a somewhat bold design decision in our car-centric city because you’d never guess how nice it is inside by driving by on the freeway. There were a lot of people milling about, but being outside made the crowds a more bearable than they would’ve been at an enclosed shopping mall.

Be forewarned that The Domain has a distinctively North Dallas air wafting throughout its well-manicured grounds like a slow-dissipating curry fart. I’m not used to seeing that many Bush sticker-encrusted land yachts in one place within our city limits. It felt like someone hauled Plano 200 miles south.

Still, I’m glad to have that suburban lucre contributing to Austin proper's tax base. The whopping 80 percent tax rebate over 20 years granted by our city council to The Domain's developers seems a bit excessive, but maybe we can use whatever's left to make up a sliver of how much we townies have to pay for the infrastructure to get suburb dwellers in and out of downtown every weekday.

It’s nice to have a Neiman’s in Austin even though I don’t have much use for it personally. I found a pair of Gucci loafers I liked, but unless our currency collapses, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to feel good about paying $400 for a pair of shoes unless they come with an 8-ball of coke and/or 300 Jack in the Box tacos. The only thing I might buy at Neiman’s on a regular basis is Kiehl’s shaving cream. Also, I would have few qualms about disgorging myself in their nicely-apportioned men's room if I couldn't make it home in time.

Despite the high snoot factor, I do have fond memories of going to Neiman's in downtown Dallas with my mom as a child. One time when I was about four, I grabbed a chunk of cheese off a Neiman's international cheese wheel display, thinking it was free for the taking. Around the same time, I pinched a pretty lady on her pantyhosed leg there because I thought it would feel good. It did. I got in trouble from my mom, but the lady seemed to think it was cute. I can't wait until I'm old and senile so I can get away with that sort of thing again.

Then as now, the salespeople at Neiman’s are experts at smelling money – and lack thereof. As such, they pretty much stayed clear of me, but one men’s department associate asked where I’d picked up my Guayabera shirt. I could barely contain my glee when I told him I got it for 50 cents at a garage sale. Say it loud – I’m cheap and I’m proud.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"slow-dissipating curry fart." Now there's a phrase you don't hear everyday. =)

I have been to a N.M. once. I felt real out of place. Window shopping is as fun as sticking one's face into a porcupine.